What’s Better for Backup Power? Solar or Gas Generators?

If your area loses power, a backup generator can be a lifesaver. However, with so many options on the market, it’s hard to know whether a solar or gas generator is better.

Whether a solar or gas generator is better for backup power depends on cost, power output and storage capacity, convenience, noise, and more.

Here’s a comparison to decide which option is best for you. 

What is a Generator?

Generators convert mechanical energy into electrical power, providing backup electricity during outages.

How Do Generators Work?

Generators typically use fuel like gasoline, propane, or natural gas to power a motor that generates usable electricity. With a versatile model like the EcoFlow Smart Generator 4000, you can even choose between powering it with LPG (propane) or gasoline. 

The electricity generated can then power appliances and devices in your home. They come in various sizes and capacities, from small portable units to large stationary models capable of powering an entire house.

What are the Pros and Cons of Gas Generators?

Gas generators are a common choice for backup power. Here’s a breakdown of their benefits and drawbacks.


  • More Affordable Upfront: Gas generators generally have a lower initial cost than their solar counterparts, making them more accessible for many homeowners.
  • Easy to Connect to Natural Gas Lines: Many gas generators can be connected directly to your home’s natural gas line, ensuring a constant fuel supply without needing storage tanks.
  • Variety of Available Sizes: Gas generators come in various sizes, allowing homeowners to choose one that fits their specific power needs and space constraints. Choose a sizeable built-in option or a smaller generator you can take on the go.


  • Noisy to Operate: One of the main drawbacks of gas generators is their noise level, which can be disruptive, especially in residential areas and at night.
  • Require Regular Maintenance: To keep gas generators running smoothly, you must perform regular maintenance monthly and annually. This includes changing the oil, replacing spark plugs, and cleaning filters.
  • Require Fuel to Run: Gas generators rely on a constant supply of fuel, which means you’ll need to store enough fuel to last through potential outages. This can be inconvenient and costly, especially when fuel demand is high during a natural disaster or extended outage.
  • Stale Fuel Can Cause Equipment Issues: Fuel left unused for too long can become stale, leading to operational issues and requiring additional maintenance.
  • Creates Harmful Emissions: Gas generators emit pollutants, contributing to environmental degradation and posing health risks.

What is a Solar Backup Generator?

A solar backup generator uses solar panels to collect sunlight, store it, and convert it into electricity, which is then stored in batteries for use during power outages. Unlike traditional gas generators, solar generators rely on renewable energy and have become popular for their environmental benefits, quiet operation, and high ROI.

How Do Solar Generators Work?

A solar generator begins with a portable power station, a giant battery that stores backup power. With EcoFlow’s portable power stations, all you need to add is solar panels. The inverter, charge controller, and other essential balance of system components are built-in.

Solar panels capture the sun’s clean, renewable energy via photovoltaic (PV) cells. The portable power station (PPS) converts the DC power into AC (household) electricity with the built-in inverter. 

If you’re connecting a whole-house solar generator solution like the EcoFlow Whole Home Backup to your home electrical wiring, you’ll need to connect the PPS to your home circuit panel using a transfer switch. 

You can purchase the solar panels for a solar generator separately or bundled with a PPS like the silent yet powerful 4000W EcoFlow DELTA Pro 3 and optional components like extra Smart Batteries for additional power storage capacity. 

You’ll be good to go once you’ve plugged the appliances you want to run directly into the portable power station’s inputs or connected the PPS to your home circuit panel.

What are the Pros and Cons of Solar Generators?

Solar generators are gaining popularity due to their attractive benefits, but they also have a few drawbacks to keep in mind.


  • Reduced Dependence on Electric Grid: Solar generators provide an independent power source, reducing reliance on the conventional electric grid and granting energy independence.
  • Require Little Ongoing Maintenance: Once installed, solar generators require little to no upkeep, saving time and money in the long run.
  • No Fuel Required: Solar generators harness energy directly from the sun, eliminating the need for fuel storage and ongoing fuel costs.
  • Higher ROI: While the initial cost may be higher, solar generators offer better returns on investment over time due to lower operational costs and their long lifespan.
  • Better for the Environment: Solar generators produce clean energy, significantly reducing your carbon footprint and environmental impact.
  • No Restrictions on Indoor or Outdoor Use: Solar generators are safe to use inside and outside because they don’t create fumes, offering greater flexibility.
  • Silent Operation: Unlike noisy gas generators, solar generators operate silently, making them ideal for residential use.
  • Qualify for Tax Credits: Investing in solar generators may qualify for state and federal tax credits, reducing the overall cost.


  • Initial Cost is Higher: At first, the initial cost of purchasing and setting up a solar generator is usually higher than that of a gas generator.
  • Less Compact than Gas Generators: Solar generators, especially those with ample battery storage, may require more space for installation.
  • May Not Provide as Much Power: In some cases, solar generators may not offer the same power output as larger gas generators, which could be a limitation for high-demand situations.

What to Consider When Choosing a Backup Power Generator

When selecting a backup power generator, consider the following:

  • Power Capacity:

Determine the amount of power you need to ensure the generator can handle your essential appliances and devices. If you only care about powering personal devices, something smaller with a lower storage capacity can satisfy your needs.

  • Output:

Check the generator’s output specifications to ensure it can provide the necessary voltage and wattage. Output refers to how much energy it can provide at a given time. If your appliances or devices exceed the generator’s output limits, it won’t be able to power them effectively. On the other hand, a robust model, such as the EcoFlow DELTA Pro 3, provides 4000W to power almost all home appliances with a single and compact unit.

  • Cost:

A holistic look at costs considers both initial and ongoing operational costs, including maintenance and fuel. Solar generators have no fuel cost and little to no maintenance cost, whereas traditional generators require regular fuel investments to run. Because of this difference, the long-term cost of solar generators is often much lower than gas, diesel, or propane generators.

  • Reliability:

Regular generators need fuel, so you’ll be left without power if your fuel supply runs out. Solar-powered options, however, can reliably run as long as there is sunlight. You can trust that you’ll never be without power, even when fuel is in high demand.

  • Configuration:

Can the generator be easily integrated into your existing power setup? Solar systems that provide Whole Home Backup Power use components such as Smart Panels and Transfer Switches to work alongside your existing electrical system, keeping power and home disruption to a minimum.

  • Noise:

Consider the generator’s noise level, especially if you live in a residential area. Traditional generators, especially diesel generators, can be incredibly noisy and disruptive. If you’re not willing to give up a conventional generator’s power and backup assurance but want something safe to use respectfully in residential areas, consider something like the EcoFlow DELTA Pro 3 + EcoFlow Smart Generator 4000 (Dual Fuel)

Together, these products create a hybrid Inverter Generator solution that allows you to run it using gas, propane, AC, and solar power, amongst other options. You can utilize the quiet solar feature when discretion is critical while still having the option for traditional fuel options if necessary.

  • Portability:

If you need a generator you can move around, consider its size and weight. Smaller models with features like wheels or carry handles allow you to take your backup power with you wherever you’re headed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a Generator Better Than a Solar Battery?

The value of a generator vs. solar battery depends on your needs and circumstances. Generators are more affordable upfront but require ongoing costs and maintenance and can be noisy and harm the environment. Solar batteries offer a quieter and more environmentally friendly solution with low ongoing costs after a higher initial investment.

Final Thoughts

Choosing between solar and gas generators for backup power ultimately depends on your priorities and requirements. Gas generators offer a cost-effective, reliable solution but come with environmental and maintenance concerns. 

Solar generators, while having a higher initial cost, provide a sustainable, low-maintenance alternative with numerous long-term benefits. Discover the best option for you by exploring EcoFlow’s Whole Home Backup and hybrid Inverter Generator solutions.

EcoFlow is a portable power and renewable energy solutions company. Since its founding in 2017, EcoFlow has provided peace-of-mind power to customers in over 85 markets through its DELTA and RIVER product lines of portable power stations and eco-friendly accessories.


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